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Mon 24 May 2010 10:14 AM

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Australia expels Israeli diplomat over Hamas murder

Concludes Israel was responsible for forging Australian passports for use in Dubai killing.

Australia expels Israeli diplomat over Hamas murder
COLD BLOOD: A top Hamas official was murdered in a Dubai hotel in January; Israel has been held responsible for the hit.

Australia’s government said on Monday it had ordered the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat after investigators concluded the state was responsible for illegally forging four Australian passports that were used in the murder of a top Hamas official in Dubai in January.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the Dubai operation to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was not the first time Israel had forged Australian travel documents. The latest incident breached “confidential undertakings” between the two countries, he said.

Dubai authorities had said the team that tracked and killed the Palestinian used fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports to enter and leave Dubai. The Arab state blamed Israel’s Mossad intelligence service for the hit.

"These investigations and advice have left the government in no doubt that Israel was responsible for the abuse and counterfeiting of these passports," Smith told Australia's parliament. "These are not the actions of a friend. This is not what we expect from a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship."

Israel had been asked to withdraw an unnamed diplomat. The duration of the expulsion was indefinite, he said.

Australia’s reaction echoes that of the United Kingdom. An Israeli diplomat was expelled in March, after it emerged that 12 fake British passports had been used in the plot to kill al-Mabhouh. An investigation by the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency confirmed Israel’s involvement in the murder.

The passports of four Australians - Nicole McCabe, Joshua Bruce, Adam Korman and Joshua Krycer – were used in the operation.

Smith said that authorities in Dubai had been briefed on Australia’s findings, along with other countries whose nationals claimed to have identities stolen in the case.

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Billy 10 years ago

How many more crimes does Israel have to commit before the world wakes up to the fact that Israel is the ally of no one but itself. International pressure needs to be put on the USA to cease its support of this rogue state so that real progress can be made to ending the Palestinian plight and allow the rest of the region to breathe a sigh of relief.